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President rejects famous Georgians’ appeal to pardon ex-Tbilisi Mayor Ugulava

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, December 30
The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelahsvili, responded to a group of well-known Georgians who had submitted a letter to the President’s administration on December 28, appealing to him to pardon ex-Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who is in currently in custody on corruption-related and other charges.

The fifty-seven Georgian citizens, mainly famous for public due to their civil, cultural, or journalistic contributions, have stated in the appeal brought to the President’s Administration that there were a range of violations in Ugulava’s case.

‘’Ugulava was released from pre-trial detention once the Constitutional Court satisfied his complaint. There were many questions in this period as government interfered with the process…the City Court trial was conducted in an accelerated mode. The Judge made a verdict in 4 hours while the case contained 40 volumes and up to 120 witnesses were questioned,” the statement reads.

According to the statement, the government was interested in Ugulava’s imprisonment and not in fulfilling the rule of law.

In his response, the President highlighted that each citizen was equal in his eyes and he would not make any decisions that could "create too loyal attitude in public regarding such crimes Ugulava was charged for.”

He added, “Herewith, the pardon mechanism replaces neither legal procedures nor investigation and does not serve political aims.

“Pardoning is a constitutional obligation that envisages huge moral and state responsibility for me.

“When carry out any humanitarian act I never make any decisions which might privilege certain inmates. I cannot make a solution that might form too loyal an attitude in the public over similar crimes. Therefore, I cannot meet your appeal,” the President stated.

Responding to the answer, one of the authors of the appeal, the co-founder of Georgia’s ‘Reforms Associates’ Enene Khoshtaria, said for the case “ that has caused range of domestic and international assertions, three hours was enough for the President to respond.”

Tbilisi’s ex-mayor and one of the leaders of the opposition UNM party, Gigi Ugulava, has been sentenced to 4 years and 6 months in prison after being found guilty of misspending of public funds while serving as the mayor of Tbilisi.

Tbilisi City Court has acquitted Ugulava on money laundering charges in a separate case, which was adjudicated as part of the same trial.